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Synapse formation requires the differentiation of a functional nerve terminal opposite a specialized postsynaptic membrane. Here, we show that laminin beta2, a component of the synaptic cleft at the neuromuscular junction, binds directly to calcium channels that are required for neurotransmitter release from motor nerve terminals. This interaction leads to(More)
Death pathways restricted to specific neuronal classes could potentially allow for precise control of developmental neuronal death and also underlie the selectivity of neuronal loss in neurodegenerative disease. We show that Fas-triggered death of normal embryonic motoneurons requires transcriptional upregulation of neuronal NOS and involves Daxx, ASK1, and(More)
Cysteine string protein alpha (CSPalpha)--an abundant synaptic vesicle protein that contains a DNA-J domain characteristic of Hsp40 chaperones--is thought to regulate Ca2+ channels and/or synaptic vesicle exocytosis. We now show that, in young mice, deletion of CSPalpha does not impair survival and causes no significant changes in presynaptic Ca2+ currents(More)
Cytokines that are related to ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) are physiologically important survival factors for motoneurons, but the mechanisms by which they prevent neuronal cell death remain unknown. Reg-2/PAP I (pancreatitis-associated protein I), referred to here as Reg-2, is a secreted protein whose expression in motoneurons during development is(More)
Synapse formation requires the organization of presynaptic active zones, the synaptic vesicle release sites, in precise apposition to postsynaptic neurotransmitter receptor clusters; however, the molecular mechanisms responsible for these processes remain unclear. Here, we show that P/Q-type and N-type voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs) play(More)
Physical activity plays an important role in preventing chronic disease in adults and the elderly. Exercise has beneficial effects on the nervous system, including at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Exercise causes hypertrophy of NMJs and improves recovery from peripheral nerve injuries, whereas decreased physical activity causes degenerative changes in(More)
The cytoskeletal matrix of the active zone and synaptic voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs) are both necessary components for the organization and regulation of synaptic vesicle release. In this study, we report a novel interaction between the cytoskeletal matrix of the active zone protein, ELKS1b, and the VDCC subunit, β4, in the molecular layer of(More)
Recent findings demonstrate that synaptic channels are directly involved in the formation and maintenance of synapses by interacting with synapse organizers. The synaptic channels on the pre- and postsynaptic membranes possess non-conducting roles in addition to their functional roles as ion-conducting channels required for synaptic transmission. For(More)
Organization of presynaptic active zones is essential for development, plasticity, and pathology of the nervous system. Recent studies indicate a trans-synaptic molecular mechanism that organizes the active zones by connecting the pre- and the postsynaptic specialization. The presynaptic component of this trans-synaptic mechanism is comprised of cytosolic(More)
A prominent feature of synaptic maturation at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the topological transformation of the acetylcholine receptor (AChR)-rich postsynaptic membrane from an ovoid plaque into a complex array of branches. We show here that laminins play an autocrine role in promoting this transformation. Laminins containing the alpha4, alpha5, and(More)